Fiber Internet In 2014?

Your days of waiting for videos to buffer or uploading attachments may be over soon as competition is growing for which data provider is going to offer internet speeds up to 100 times faster than your current provider.

AT&T announced Thursday that it would join Google and Time Warner Cable in providing cities in the Triangle and Winston-Salem one-gigabit speeds through their fiber-optic internet services.

“AT&T already has a large fiber footprint in the region—that’s one of the reasons it made it such an attractive partner,” says Marc Hoit, the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology at N.C. State and a spokesperson for the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN). “With that, they have the ability to jump start and do things faster. We’re hoping some of those connections start before the end of this year.”

The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro along with UNC agreed in January of last year to join four other municipalities and three other major universities to ratify NCNGN. According to its website, NCNGN is a “regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation broadband networks in North Carolina.” It’s also comprised of Durham, Cary, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem; Duke and Wake Forest round out the group.

gizmodo_internet_speeds

Courtesy of Gizmodo

According to Gizmodo, a design and technology blog, the Triangle averages internet speeds between 10.9 and 14.6 megabits per second. The ultra-high-speed internet option of one-gigabit per second would be 70-100 times greater than those averages.

“If you think of how long it takes to download a movie or if you’re doing education content with the university and doing streaming, some of the things that you want to do with offsite stuff like Google Apps and Documents and Microsoft SkyDrive and download music and your save your music up in the cloud, if you have a one gig file and you’re up at a gig, it takes a second,” Hoit says.

Hoit says NCNGN sees ultra-high-speed internet changing the world of medicine.

“We’re hoping to see things like medical diagnostics live, hi-resolution video used for medical services or for other types of services that you can do diagnostics and use that high-speed stream,” Hoit says.

Another positive aspect of fiber-optic internet is downloading and uploading speeds are the same. With Google fiber or AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, you could receive or send files big and small in almost no time. For example, you could download a full-length, high-definition movie in about 30 seconds.

“The symmetric version is really important from our standpoint, because as you want to work with all these new services that people are doing and putting your music in the cloud; if somebody’s in a studio and creating music and then wants to put it up and to be served somewhere else, you need that upload speed just as much,” Hoit says.

Google offered its first fiber-optic internet service in Kansas City, Missouri in 2012. It later expanded to Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. In mid-February, the internet giant announced it was considering Triangle cities as places to expand the ultra-high-speed option.

Time Warner Cable said last year that it plans to extend the next level of service sometime in the near future.

Of course, the prices for these ultra-high speed options could be higher. Google fiber in Kansas City is selling its product at $70 per month for internet alone. It is, however, currently waiving its $300 construction fee to customers who sign up.

“Our expectation is to be priced similar to what you’re seeing in Kansas City and in Austin,” Hoit says. “The price depends on the costs and other things, but it should be very close to that same price.”

The next step for the municipalities and universities within NCNGN is to review the terms and agreements of the plan to continue the process.

Carrboro elected officials will likely vote in mid-May on the plan; Chapel Hill leaders have not decided on a date when they will vote on the plan. However, Hoit says the next step should be fairly seamless.

“It’s been a two, two-and-a-half year process of which the municipalities and the universities have been working together through this whole time,” Hoit says. “It will hopefully not come as a surprise. The municipal lawyers have all been involved, so there’s been a lot of collaboration that we’re hoping everything goes smoothly.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/development/fiber-internet-2014/

Cold Front To Bring Frozen Precipitation

National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Scott Sharp says once the cold front moves through the Triangle between 7:00 and 7:30 Monday morning, we should expect rain to switch to sleet at about midday.

WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Sharp during the WCHL Monday Morning News.

***Listen to the Interview***

http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/cold-front-bring-frozen-precipitation/

Another Dose Of Winter Weather Aiming For Triangle

RALEIGH – Another winter storm is heading for the Triangle, but its severity is still unknown.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Barrett Smith about when the winter weather will start and how long it will last.

***Listen to the Interview***

A hazardous weather outlook is in place for the area through mid-week. Click here for more details.

http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/another-dose-winter-weather-aiming-triangle/

Welcome Chancellor Folt

From Maria Palmer.

Last weekend I participated in the innagural WW Finlator Lectures in Faith & Social Justice at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. The church Bill Finlator pastored for 3 decades celebrated his legacy as one of the great American prophets of the 20th Century. Thank you, Pullen, for an inspiring weekend and for reminding us that we have so much work to do.

It is easy for us privileged Chapel Hillians to think that our actions are always consistent with the highest ethical standards. We don’t break the law. We recycle. We donate money to great causes. I am sure, many of us also pray for justice and for the poor on a regular basis.

But justice is NOT like the climate, something we can call “an act of God.” Justice (or injustice) is the result of our collective decisions. Bill Finlator reminded us that the Bible calls us to DO justice. When we fail to protect women and girls from sexual violence; when one third of our county’s residents are low-income and thousands are uninsured; when one in five children in Orange Co. are living in poverty, I think we may be failing to DO justice.

As we welcome Chancellor Carol Folt, I take hope. After all, UNC president Tom Ross has said she meets his criteria of “unwavering integrity” and somewone who will “always stand for what is right.”

What is right, Dr. Folt, is leading UNC and the community in doing justice. What is right, is paying UNC workers a living wage, what is right is protecting women—students and employees—against abuse and sexual violence. What is right is celebrating and thanking whistle-blowers, not harassing or firing them. They are the heroes who will make our University great. What is right is mobilizing the brain power of our expert Educators to close the achievement gap in our schools. What is right is giving the children of our lowest-paid workers access to the resources of our great university for tutoring, to attend summer programs and enrichment opportunities that bring wealthy children from across the US to our campus. What is right is giving poor children in our community the help they need so that they can attend UNC, not because they pulled themselves up but their non-existent bootstraps, but because the University refused to stand by while children of color are channeled into a permanent underclass. What is right, Dr. Folt, is to find a way to provide adequate health care and transportation for the workers in this community that will make it possible for you to do great things.

Chancellor Folt. Welcome to Chapel Hill. We expect great things from you!

http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/welcome-chancellor-folt/

North Carolina Writers Serve Up Spring Reading Options

Ready or not, spring is here and it is time for a seasonal update on new books important to North Carolinians.

This month’s most important literary news is the release of “Life After Life,” popular author Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years. McCorkle fills a southeastern North Carolina retirement facility with quirky residents, staff, and visitors whose encounters with each other make readers wonder whether to laugh or cry. She will be the guest on North Carolina Bookwatch at noon on Sunday, March 31 and Thursday, April 4, at 5 p.m.

Understanding the actions and attitudes of our parents and grandparents in dealing with the system of oppressive racial segregation that confronted them is one of our great challenges. Some of the best Southern writers deal with our past in ways that make for compelling storytelling. UNC-Chapel Hill creative writing professor Pam Durban steps up to that challenge in her new novel, “The Tree of Forgetfulness.” (April 7, 11)

The recent temporary closings of the Hatteras Ferry and coastal Highway 12 remind us that our coast is fragile and unstable. How do we protect it? In “The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future,” retired East Carolina professor Stanley Riggs and his coauthors give the background we need to make good decisions. (April 14, 18)

Vicki Lane sets her popular novels on the farms and small towns in mountainous Madison County north of Asheville, where she and her husband have lived since moving there from Tampa, Florida, in 1975.  In “Under the Skin,” she turns her mountain surroundings into compelling fiction. (April 21, 25)

The third and final volume of the “Literary Trails of North Carolina” series establishes Georgann Eubanks as the master guide to our state’s literary history. She has already taken us to Murphy and now in “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina: A Guidebook,” she takes us from Raleigh through the Coastal Plain all the way to Manteo.  (April 28, May 2)

Everyone knows our health care system is in trouble, but UNC Medical School Professor Nortin Hadler is more specific and troubling when he says that conflicts of interest, misrepresentation of clinical trials, hospital price fixing, and massive expenditures for procedures of dubious efficacy point to the need for an overhaul. Who is responsible? Every citizen, says Hadler, has a duty to understand the existing system and to visualize what the outcome of successful reform might look like. Hadler provides a primer and guide to action in “The Citizen Patient: Reforming Health Care for the Sake of the Patient, Not the System.”  (May 5, 9)

Do you remember “Big Fish,” the wonderful novel by Daniel Wallace and the movie it inspired? They made us suspend disbelief and go into a magical world of stories and characters. Wallace has done it again in his latest novel, “The Kings and Queens of Roam,” which is full of the magic he uses to draw us into his worlds of imagination. (May 12, 16)

How could one of North Carolina’s most important political leaders be both a progressive champion for education and economic development and, at the same time, the leader of the white supremacy movement in our state? N.C. State Professor Lee Craig wrestles with this challenging question in his new book, “Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times.” (May 19, 23)

In reviewing Duke Professor William Chafe’s  “Bill and Hillary,” Jonathan Yardley wrote, about the Clintons, “No personalities in recent history speak more compellingly to the importance of understanding that the personal and the political are inseparable.” Chafe’s detailed study of the relationship between the power couple of all power couples shows how their relationship shaped our history.  (May 26, 29)

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D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch.” During UNC-TV’s Festival, the program  airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.
Next week’s (Thursday, March 28 at 5 p.m.) guest is Sheri Castle, author of “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes.” (Note the Sunday airing will be preempted by UNC-TV’s Festival programming). The program will also air at Wednesday March 27 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic Bookwatch program featuring the late Reynolds Price author of “A Serious Way of Thinking.”

 

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Watauga County native Sheri Castle’s “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes” is a guide to finding the best seasonal foods in our region. She organizes her recipes into about 40 chapters, each featuring a different vegetables or fruit.
 
More about Sheri Castle:
 
Castle is a popular food writer and cooking teacher who celebrates delicious and healthy home cooked meals made possible by fresh, local, seasonal food. She has packaged that enthusiasm into “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes.”
 
Castle’s book has about 40 chapters, each one devoted to one particular fruit or vegetable from apples to zucchini. She suggests that you go to the market without a shopping list, buy what is the most freshly available and tasty, bring it home, consult her book, and find all kinds of ways to prepare your purchase.
 
Castle entertains her readers with stories about her mountain family and even a song or two. Because I love tomatoes, here are lines she shares from a song by Guy Clark: “Only two things that money can’t buy/That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”
 
But tomatoes are not the only stars in Castle’s catalogue of fresh foods. For instance, she gives great advice to overcome two different contradictory ideas about how long to cook snap beans. “At one time, most snap beans were sturdy pole beans with thick, tough pods that required extensive cooking to become edible. However, subjecting the newer stringless varieties to long cooking would dissolve them into a tasteless mess. … If a bean pod is delicate and tender enough to eat raw, it needs quick, gentle cooking. If a bean pod is thick and has strings…, it needs long slow cooking. When you know your bean, you know your cooking method.”
 

http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/north-carolina-writers-serve-up-spring-reading-options/

Putting In The Effort

“We were not pleased at all, not satisfied, not happy about the way we played Saturday night, and yet you have to congratulate North Carolina State. They kicked our tails every which way it can be kicked. They were better in every phase of the game, more attentive, greater sense of urgency, and everything…” (Coach Williams’ opening quotes from his Monday ACC Teleconference)

I can’t say I disagree with Coach’s statements following the performance in Raleigh. The most frustrating part about this loss, outside of my obnoxious NC State friends, was the apparent lack of urgency. One thing Coach Williams’ teams are known for is transition offense. Typically we are the ones running at light speed up and down the court and beating our opponents to the opposite end of the floor. On Saturday, it felt like we were in slow motion. When we finally managed to slow State down and force a turnover, we seemed to simply cough it back up. When we forced them into a missed shot, they got the rebound. State had 12 offensive rebounds to our 23 defensive rebounds. Their starters out rebounded our team. They had 9 steals to our 6. They shot 49.2% from the floor to our 46.5%. They were 53.8% from three to our 36.4%. They MADE 20 free throws, we ATTEMPTED 10. The list seems to go on and on… what it boils down to is that we simply didn’t show up to play. It’s great that we had a late game comeback, but in reality, I would like to forget that blunder and just move on.

After this performance, Coach was asked about PJ’s Hairston’s minutes in the State game.

“P.J. Hairston has played well offensively the past couple of games, yet he’s only played 17 minutes in each of those. What do you think is holding him back from seeing more time?”

“Foul trouble, I think, in the game before. I think he and James Michael both had two fouls early in the first half. That was part of it. And then the other thing, if you go back the last two games, J.P. Tokoto has played probably his best two games. And so it’s not just P.J.’s right to be out there on the floor. Saturday I got so mad at him when he’s going after a loose ball and a North Carolina State player runs from behind him and dives for the loose ball when P.J.’s trying to pick it up. I just can’t stomach those kinds of things. I keep giving guys chances even when they do something like that, but there is no question that’s the reason he sat out for a long time on Saturday.”

This was posted on the Inside Carolina message board under the title “RoyW on P.J. Hairston’s Minutes (Updated)”, and the last time I checked, this post had been viewed 11,778 times and 479 people had replied with their interpretation of Coach Williams’ comments. I quickly remembered why I stopped reading the message boards. Ignore the comment about foul trouble and what was said about Tokoto… After perusing the first page of responses, it was clear that everyone interpreted this comment as “I took PJ out of the game because he turned the ball over.” My interpretation is, “that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

When there is a 50/50 ball rolling on the floor, it’s unacceptable to simply bend over and try to pick it up. In my experience, from as early as Junior Pro leagues in Lexington, KY when I was 8, you were taught to dive on the floor for a loose ball. I specifically remember my coach sitting us all down in the stairwell of the gym at halftime of a game and slamming a ball on the floor. He asked each of us individually to demonstrate how we would go after the ball. After several players stood up from the stairs and tried to grab the ball, Rod Napier dove from the first step and tackled the ball on the floor. Lesson learned. If you weren’t the one diving, you weren’t going to get it, and you’re the one most likely to get hurt when someone takes your legs out! When Carolina hits the floor with zero intensity and someone doesn’t make an aggressive play when the opportunity presents itself, I’ve got a secret for you… they’re coming out of the game. It didn’t have anything to do with a turnover.

Not that I’m biased or like to see our team go down big, but I was hoping to see the Blue Team hit the court in the first half at the PNC Arena!

image by Todd Melet

http://chapelboro.com/hoop-it-up/a-players-perspective/putting-in-the-effort/

A Healthy State of Hate in the Triangle

So it finally happened. For the first time since February of 2007, NC State managed to hand us an L. And while there is some solace to be found in the fact that I haven’t had to witness a loss to State since I was a freshman in high school, Saturday night’s game was still a hard pill to swallow.

Following the buzzer, I acted against my better judgment and decided to brave the hornet’s nest that is my Twitter feed after a Carolina loss. As could be expected, there were more than a few heated arguments taking place and plenty of wolfpack fans moronically laying claim to North Carolina as “their state”.

Scrolling through the drivel and seeing the countless hash tagged “#GTHC”s, I found myself convinced of something that many current UNC students still like to deny: NC State is our rival.

There, I said it. State is our rival. Though very lopsided when measured in terms of banners and statistics (someone pointed out to me on Saturday that State could beat us in basketball twice a year for the next 35 years and we’d still maintain more all-time wins in the series), what the Heels and the Pack share is most definitely a rivalry. How can I be sure? There’s just too much hate for it not to be.

To fully understand my evolving viewpoint on the matter, it would probably help to have a little background. As a fourth generation UNC student, I (like so many others) consider myself a Tar Heel born and bred. To this day, my dad is incredibly proud of the fact that some of my first words were “Duke sucks”. Really, it’s no wonder that I grew up with an unwavering contempt for all things Duke blue. Coach K and his self-righteous crew of floppers and floor-slappers were just so…well, hatable.

This being said, I never quite understood why my dad seemed to truly relish victories over the Wolfpack. I knew all too well the value of sticking it to the Blue Devils, but NC State? In my mind they were irrelevant. There were always plenty of Duke fans with whom to trade smack talk, but my grade school years were pretty much devoid of any encounters with State backers. So who cared if we beat the wuffies?

Then things changed. My senior year of high school arrived, and with it came the social clamor surrounding college acceptance letters. In the span of a few weeks the number of Wolfpack fans at my school grew exponentially. Suddenly there were just as many people in red as there had ever been in dark blue. What’s worse, several of those people were my friends.

This is why Raleigh will forever remain on my radar. You see, while our clashes with State might not always live up to our battles with Duke on the court, they are always much more personal off the court.

Which leads me to the difference between Carolina-Duke and Carolina-State: some of the things that make the Carolina-Duke rivalry so great are the same things that keep the student bodies so very separate. UNC is, after all, a public school with a state-mandated 82% of each freshman class coming from within North Carolina. Inversely, a quick look at Duke’s demographics reveals a paltry 14% of students coming from in state.

In this respect the two universities are opposites, a fact which may go a long way towards explaining to outsiders why the schools find it so hard to get along. But as a student, what is it like to be part of the Hatfield and McCoy story that is UNC-Duke? Apart from the compulsory exchanging of taunts at athletic contests, you really have no interaction with your undergraduate counterparts at that school 8 miles down the road. This is, quite simply, because you don’t know any of them. While you may know dozens of people from high school who joined the ranks of the wuffies over in Raleigh, odds are that you’re not on a first name basis with very many dookies.

Though a win or loss to NCSU might not garner recognition on a national scale, it’s much more important in terms of earning bragging rights in your own backyard. On February 23rd, I fully anticipate reclaiming those rights from the first row of the risers. I suppose for now, though, all we can do as Tar Heel fans is sit back and let the Wolfpack howl (it is, after all, what they do best). Perhaps the best way for us to avoid repeating the events of Saturday night is simply to recognize that this triangle we occupy has a third point. Strangely enough, it isn’t a shade of blue.

You can follow Alexon Twitter @ajcollette

image by katie bailey / dth

http://chapelboro.com/hoop-it-up/view-from-the-risers/a-healthy-state-of-hate-in-the-triangle/

'We're Getting On The Same Page!'

I was so impressed and inspired by the first half of our game against Maryland. It showed what kind of a team we can be. We finally got Reggie and James Michael on the same page. Imagine what we can do if P.J. and Marcus get on that same page, all at the same time.

In the second half you have to give Maryland most of the credit; they’re an ACC team and capable, they just beat N.C. State. The way we took them out of their offense in the first half and the number of balls we deflected shows what we can do on defense.

If we keep improving we have a chance. There is no dominant team in the country, like last year with Kentucky. We’re going have to keep riding who’s hot in that game. It was Reggie vs. Maryland, at Florida State it was PJ, the next game it might be James Michael. But if we keep improving, I think our potential is off the charts.

You know I watch the point guards very closely, and I really like Marcus (Paige). He’s getting the job done with young players around him. And I’ll say it till the cows come home, he’s a good shooter. I’ve seen him at practice and I watched him before the season. He can shoot.

Six assists and no turnovers against Maryland, that’s pretty good. The players they have around them have a lot to do with the point guard’s success.

I hope we can handle Georgia Tech, and then comes State Saturday in Raleigh. That’s gonna be a toughie, but Carolina teams have done well over the years when nobody said we had a chance.

I remember my freshman year, we HAD State with David (Thompson) and Tommy (Burleson) and Monte (Towe) late in the game in Reynolds Coliseum before it slipped away. Then we finally beat them at Carmichael and again in the ACC Tournament.

And our team that year wasn’t a whole lot different from this one. I was a freshman, Walter (Davis) and Johnny Kue(ster) and T. LaGarde were all sophomores. We even had a guy named Mickey Bell who came off the bench to give us a lift like Jackson Simmons has done.

We DID have Mitch Kupchak, who was a junior and becoming one of the best big men in the country. But Mitch struggled as a freshman and sophomore. If we had legitimate juniors and seniors like it used to be, a kid could afford to come along more slowly . . . but now they have to play earlier in their careers.

We have pretty good big people – young, but they have size and length and are being taught well. Remember, we went to the Final Four in 1977 with three freshmen rotating at center – Rich Yonaker, Jeff Wolff and Steve Krafcisin.

So if the other four guys around them do what they’re supposed to do, you can get it done with young people inside.

Phil Ford was a three-time All-American at UNC, 1978 ACC Player of the Year and went on to be the NBA Rookie of the Year and an NBA all-star.
 

image by Todd Melet

http://chapelboro.com/hoop-it-up/ford-corners/were-getting-on-the-same-page/

Art's Angle: A So-So Season Going Nowhere

 

Looks like it’s another Year of Living Dangerously. In other words, expending our energy rooting against Duke.

We’ve had these seasons before (i.e., 2010), although rarely. When our own basketball team is so young or weak (literally) or mediocre that it is not a safe use of our emotions to pull FOR the Tar Heels as it is to root AGAINST Duke. After losing their second straight ACC game to open 0-2, the Tar Heels obviously are not going very far in the unlucky ides of March ’13. So why not channel our frustration and anger where it can be better utilized: trying to keep the Blue Devils from winning another national championship.

Look at Thursday night’s home loss to Miami on paper, and I don’t mean the stats. The Hurricanes’ roster of 13 players has 10 seniors and juniors. And one of the seniors has been trolling South Beach for five years, another is on the six-year plan! So, as a shell-shocked Roy Williams said after the 68-59 defeat, a lively near-capacity crowd in Carolina blue at the Smith Center wasn’t going to make any waves with the well-seasoned ‘Canes. And their biggest and maybe best player, center Reggie Johnson, didn’t even suit up!

Meanwhile, if there was no such thing as the NBA, John Henson would be a senior, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall juniors. James Michael McAdoo wouldn’t be lost somewhere between post player and small forward and the rest of the Tar Heels wouldn’t be so upset  after only the second time in 16 years (including the completely forgettable 8-20 season) that the Tar Heels opened 0-for-2 in the ACC. History buffs have to go back to 1997, Dean Smith’s last season on the bench, to find an 0-3 ACC start. But that team had future pro names Carter and Cota and Antawn and Shammond and seven-footer Serge who wasn’t afraid to go under the basket and throw someone around. (By the way, that team righted itself by winning 16 straight games, cutting down the ACC Tournament nets and reaching the Final Four. Footnote, don’t make your travel plans for Atlanta this season).

That Tar Heel team also had a couple of guys who went out early (Vince and AJ) but not until the next year. When was the last time Miami lost someone prematurely to the NBA? Hell, the Hurricanes’ greatest player ever — Rick Barry — not only stayed four years, he married the coach’s daughter!

After the game, ol’ Roy continued his flimsy reasoning about his players not transferring what they do on the practice court to the game floor. Listen, if your first seven or eight aren’t up to Tar Heel standards, they are in jeopardy of building false confidence trying to get better against worse players. So, it’s like a cat chasing its tail. Whatever success McAdoo has against Joel James and Jackson Simmons in practice isn’t going to help much when Miami’s 6-11, 242-pound senior and future pro Kenny Kadji is shooting his herky-jerky jumper over them or steamrolling down the lane for a slam. Or keeping guards Deron Scott, Rion Brown and Shane Larkin (The U’s only sophomore) from making 6 of their team’s other 9 treys.

And when the pressure of a tight game over the first 30 minutes grabs them by the throat, their three best players — McAdoo, Reggie Bullock and P.J Hairston — fire up enough bricks to start a small house and wind up missing 23 of their 37 shots that contributed to the fatal five-minute stretch in which the Tar Heels managed only three points and went from a tie game to watching the crowd head for the Chapel Hills early. This was such a bad ending that the team gets penalized with one practice before a quick trip to Tallahassee where the Seminoles smacked a much-better Carolina club by 33 just about a year ago.

As ugly as the numbers were, they do show HOPE for the future, but probably not this season that will be fortunate to end with a low seed to the NCAA Tournament. In fact, I now have to agree with some Duke dufus who called a local talk show Thursday and said the Heels aren’t going dancing in March. Maybe he’s not such a dumb Duke dufus after all. While senior Dexter Strickland was struck with a zero line in 26 minutes (check the box score if you dare), skinny but skilled freshmen Brice Johnson, Marcus Paige and J.P Tokoto put together their best collective game and helped the Heels stay alive until the dreaded drought down the stretch. Brice’s basket, Tokoto’s tap-in and Paige pretty three from the top of the key kept Carolina in it before it began to counter pressure-packed clangers with Miami’s wide-open 3′s born from defense that hopefully did not translate from practice. Surely they don’t work on staying with the double team so long that the pass recipient gets the ball, looks down at the three-point line to make sure his toes are clearly behind the stripe before draining one of five treys that buried the Heels in the second half.

No, they did not have the injured Lesley McDonald, which gave more minutes to Strickland, Bullock and Hairston, who were all either near tears in the locker room or non-communicado with the media. They all know they have a lot work to do before the flight to FSU and so little time to do it. Meanwhile, two hours prior to the Saturday 2 p.m. tip-off, No. 1 and undefeated Duke plays at No. 20 and offensively gifted N.C. State in Raleigh, a game pitting clearly the two best teams in an otherwise-average ACC this season.

The Blue Devils will be without starting senior forward Ryan Kelly (injured foot), so the Year of Living Dangerously could actually be fun since the Wolfpack should be favored in the game. And State might win, which wouldn’t be a bad way too start would could be another terrible afternoon in Tallahassee.

You can follow Art on Twitter @ArtChansky
 

Image by Todd Melet

http://chapelboro.com/hoop-it-up/game-recap/arts-angle-a-so-so-season-going-nowhere/

Life on the Road in the ACC

Until at least Fall 2013, the Atlantic Coast Conference won’t include any members from landlocked states.

Before more variables are introduced, let’s rank the best (and the worst) of the ACC’s road venues.

In full disclosure, I’ve only experienced these seven schools as a traveling student-athlete; this is an assessment of each town’s overall college environment, not necessarily just the basketball or football stadiums of each university. Furthermore, these are the only seven I’ve been to. (Apologies to the fine folks of Tallahassee, Atlanta, College Park and Winston Salem) Though I might not be able to give you any advice on road trips to any of the “Artists formerly known as the Big East”, I’ve got some pointers on how to have a good – and horrible – time up and down the coast.

#7: NC STATE

Town: Raleigh, NC

Why visit?

Before you jump all over me, pups, I’d like to preface this ranking with the disclaimer that I have high praise for many of Raleigh’s attractions, chief among them a certain Laser Tag/ Mini Golf attraction called “Adventure Landing.” State has top-notch athletic facilities in Carter Finley and PNC Arena, access to a Cookout, and plenty of parking. The problem isn’t what the town does or doesn’t have – the problem is where everything is.

Why Not?

To get anywhere at State, it seems you have to hit another I-40 exit. Students without cars have to bus to their off-campus football and basketball stadiums, and while all the space proved convenient for my moonlighting as a human snitch for State’s Quidditch tournaments, it’s a complete task getting anywhere on time as a pedestrian. What’s more, the aesthetics get old fast. I’m not sure even Scott Wood could lay more bricks in a Carolina game.

#6: VIRGINIA TECH

Town: Blacksburg, VA

Why visit?

The snow. Somehow these Hokies get feet of it every year. Just be warned – this can be a blessing or a curse. In 2010, as UNC’s basketball team was limping to an NIT berth, our track team had the misfortune of rolling into town just 24 hours after our hardwood Heels had thrown the game away in Blacksburg. Easily identifiable in our powder-blue sweats, we were pelted unrelentingly with snowballs by a few undergrads.

“Heels,” they’d yell. “Your basketball team sucks!”

“Can’t argue with you,” we’d yell back.

The next year, I had the pleasure of watching members of the Duke team subjected to the same abuse – so worth it.

Don’t let the cold Blacksburg weather fool you, though. Hokies are one of- if not the most, warm, sportsmanlike fan bases known to NCAA sports.

Why not?

This campus is essentially an even grayer architectural version of Duke’s neo-gothica sprawl. While the dining halls are national award-winners, there are practically no “Franklin Street” alternatives for food or entertainment.

#5: DUKE

Town: Durham, NC

Why visit?

Perpetuate what stereotypes you want about Durham, but this city is not what it was even five years ago. Ninth Street has always had record stores, book shops and restaurants to match any campus “Main Street”, but now downtown is renovated, vibrant, and downright quaint. Chic restaurants and boutiques grow in the very shadow of the old smokestacks and fires of industry. It’s almost to the point that Duke won’t need that protective, 3-foot stone wall to keep those poor New Jersey kids safe.

Why not?

If you’re drawn to tradition, prestige, and other bourgeois affectations, this campus is a real treat. If you’re put off by the prospect of watching a modern football or basketball game in an over/under-sized, 70’s-era venue, don’t make the trip. In Cameron, the likelihood of you being drooled on by proximity is inversely proportional to the probability you could spit in Wallace Wade and hit anyone.

#4: Clemson

Town: Clemson, SC

Why visit?

This town has it all – great busing, incredible dining, dream weather, and a sparkling set of athletic facilities right in the middle of campus. This is small-town Americana at its finest.

Why not?

Short and sweet, there’s not much else to do here. Also, I’ve learned the hard way that the mosquitoes have a particular taste for out-of-towners.

#3: BOSTON COLLEGE

Town: Chestnut Hill, MA

Why visit?

While I briefly saw the campus as a football recruit in high school (before shipping to the other side of town to visit Harvard), I can safely say that this university retains its persona and charm while not secluding itself from Boston’s urban sprawl. Think “Harry Potter” meets “Fever Pitch”. The Conte Forum (basketball) and Alumni Stadium (football) are completely obsolete, but like any gruff Bostonian, they’ll affably win you over.

Why not?

Boston will probably continue to have the poorest weather of any ACC location until Syracuse comes into the picture.

#2: VIRGINIA

Town: Charlottesville, VA

Why visit?

I’ve been to UVA for football combines and ACC track championships many times, and each time this town seems more and more like a more historical version of Chapel Hill. Everyone knows Jefferson’s architecture is plastered all over town, but every time you make this trip north you’ll find some new colonial-era gem you had previously missed.

The blocks between Main Street, Ridge McIntire road and East Market Street have a worlds better bar and restaurant selection than the Franklin – Rosemary swath we’ve come to accept as God’s gift to earth, and the campus itself looks downright regal. Even their athletic facilities, while slightly undersized compared to other ACC venues, pull off the “Jeffersonian” look.

Why not?

The Wahoos – I still don’t know what that means – aren’t the most hospitable, down-to-earth crowd.

#1: MIAMI

Town: Coral Gables, FLA

Why visit?

Will Smith describes this magical place so much better than I. Still, I’ll give it a shot. This campus is essentially a tropical-themed Disney resort if you don’t look carefully enough.

Where UNC has a Walgreens, Miami has a shopping mall.

Where we have the Davie Poplar family, they have palm trees.

Where Chapel Hill has a busing system, Coral Gables sits on a monorail line.

Where our campus has Polk Place, theirs has a lake big enough to go jet-skiing.

Even the Hurricane-proof, jail-slit, stucco-roofed dorms play into the beach theme. Their swim team practices in an outdoor facility that looks like it’s something straight out of Baywatch, but I digress.

After failing to make the finals in my track events in 2009, I (along with two other individuals who are – per usual – protected under anonymity) set out for South Beach. If you don’t do anything else in Miami, go swim. There’s nothing like a beach with water so clear you can see your feet waist-deep.

Why not?

Don’t plan on getting any work done. At all.
 

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @JT_Gerlach.

(photo by fliegender via flickr)

http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-student-athlete/life-on-the-road-in-the-acc/